Need advice on Mac versus PC

Discussion in 'Buying Tips and Advice' started by DblD, Jan 6, 2008.

  1. DblD macrumors newbie

    Jan 6, 2008
    Cincinnati, Ohio
    I'm new to this forum. I'm a PC owner & always have been. I do alot of digital photography & I've just recently bought a new digital camcorder. Severeral people told me that if I intend to do a lot of movie editing that I should consider getting a Mac. That they're better than PC's. So I have several questions.
    1- How bad is the learning curve going from a PC to Mac?

    2-Which Mac would you recommend for someone into photography & movies?

    3-Any other things I should know about?

    Thanks for your opinions.:confused:
  2. thejadedmonkey macrumors 604


    May 28, 2005
    1. Piece-o-cake. Just remember, it's not windows, and usually it's easier then windows.. but because you're so used to having to do something in 10 steps in windows, when it's just a push of a button in OS X, you'll end up searching for 10 minutes in all sorts of menus and help screens, only to realze it was right in front of you. Also, some keyboard shortcuts are different...

    2. If you're asking, I assume that you're trying not to spend a lot of money, which means that specs aren't going to be all that important to you, just as long as it'll do video editing and some iPhoto/Aperature work. In that case, just about any mac you can buy of will work. Just choose: portable or desktop, and screen size.

    3. If you get a laptop, get a sleeve and Apple care. Also, if you buy Final Cut Express when you get the computer, I think you get a descount too... Don't upgrade your RAM from Apple, buy it online for about 1/2 price. Don't expect to play games (no matter what compuer you buy) unless you install Windows on it, and the price premium for OS X versions is sometimes $30 per game.. so after 3 or 4 games it's actually cheeper to have boughten XP.
  3. soemochris macrumors member

    Dec 13, 2007
    1. Took me 5-15 mins, on christmas day, then over the week i found out more.

    2. iMac if its leisure, mac pro (wait till after the 15th with the pro) if its pro, both with 2gb of ram or more

    3. Programs you may want to look at:
    Final Cut express or Final Cut Pro Studio
  4. Eraserhead macrumors G4


    Nov 3, 2005
    First of all Macs are generally better for digital media creation than Windows PC's, so its a good choice.

    Final Cut Express is probably better (on the budget) for a beginner, even some pro's use it.

    Any Mac should be fast enough for the applications you want to run, except possibly a Mac Mini, you should get 2-4GB RAM with it, though it can be cheaply bought elsewhere apart from Apple and fitted very easily.
  5. jsw Moderator emeritus


    Mar 16, 2004
    Andover, MA
    I think an iMac would be a great introduction to the Mac without spending the kind of money a Mac Pro would involve (as noted, the Mac Pros are expected to be updated quite soon, so don't buy just yet). Be sure to get a screen that supports the resolution you'll want. 20" works for most people, 24" is even better, and 30" (not available on an iMac, supported by Mac Pro and MacBook Pro laptop) is very expensive but huge.

    If you're doing this professionally, as noted above, a Mac Pro might be a better bet for you, but I've got a 24" iMac, and it's quite good unless you're very discerning.

    Edit: agreed about RAM - 3rd party RAM is a lot cheaper and is easy to install.
  6. Lau Guest

    I'd also add that for basic movie editing, iMovie (that comes free with a new Mac) is excellent, and you might well want to see how you get on with that before deciding what pro program to go for. You don't say what sort of movies you'll be editing, so I could be barking up the wrong tree, but iMovie is good and you can do a fair bit with it (and you can't argue with free!).
  7. spork183 macrumors 6502a


    Jul 30, 2006
    3-Check compatibility with your new camcorder. If it isn't mac compatible, you'd be hatin' life. Even if the box says works with mac, check some online reviews. Most minidv camcorders are compatible. Most hd or memory based camcorders aren't compatible. Hopefully that will change soon.

    1-Learning curve is more of a gentle bend as long as you aren't entrenched in every window shortcut known to man (or woman).

    2-If you are into this for personal use, the 20" imac is a nice choice.

    If you do this for a living, or plan to, you need the mac pro or macbook pro. In either the mac pro or macbook pro, you'd want an external monitor.
  8. DblD thread starter macrumors newbie

    Jan 6, 2008
    Cincinnati, Ohio
    Thanks for the quick reply fellas.....

    I use Photoshop CS3 on my PC for photography so I'm fairly fluent with that type of soft ware.

    I saw an iMac with a 24" wide screen & 2.4 GHz processor in a computer store near my home & I feel in love with the big screen. It was about $1700 so the cost isn't a major factor, however I don't want to spend that much if it's not the best machine for what I want to do. (Photography & Movies)

    I'm not really interested in a laptop.

    I'm not a pro photorapher, I guess I'm just a serious amature. The same with the movies. Most of what I intend to do is family sports & events with maybe an occasional paid event.
  9. biturbomunkie macrumors 6502a

    Jul 30, 2006
    i think it'd be best if you could go to an apple store a couple times and get a feel of os x and its software. apple store's specialists can also suggest you what alt software you can get if you don't like the built-in ones. imho, i doubt mac is really that much "better" nowadays in the consumer/prosumer world (though "better" is rather ambiguous). 3rd party apps like photoshop are pretty much the same on os x/win. but minor differences, i.e. shortcuts, the way how apps are minimized/maximized, multiple apps on top of each other, etc can drive some win folks nuts. with that said; however, i'd pick os x over win. unlike win, os x is rather low maintenance and it really allows you to have more time to work/play.
  10. FF_productions macrumors 68030


    Apr 16, 2005
    Mt. Prospect, Illinois
    Well I'd say the iMac is the perfect fit for you, it seems a tower might be what you need.

    Do you make a living with this digital photography? I'd assume you'd need a monitor with great color representation, etc?

    If not, iMac is the way to go.

    The current Mac Pro is a beast, and now they'll have 8 cores standard on these monsters if/when they update them.
  11. agpetz macrumors newbie

    Nov 29, 2007
    Good advice, get your hands on one and see what you think. I have a PC desktop and a macbook. I have no issues with windows (people here are overly critical of windows), but really do like OS X and am enjoying the hell out of my new macbook. OS X is a little more intuitive than windows, and I have recently recommended and imac for my parents. If you are computer literate, you can't go wrong either way, but if you want something that is more intuitive and has support for both hardware and software at the same place, mac is the way to go.
  12. heatmiser macrumors 68020

    Dec 6, 2007
    I fully agree with the idea of trying one out before dropping the cash. If you're a skilled user of Windows, you can become a skilled user of OS X as well, but that doesn't mean you'll prefer OS X to Windows. In the end, you're going to be doing the same things on Tiger/Leopard as you were on XP/Vista; the only differences will be in the way you prefer to get things done.
  13. Cave Man macrumors 604

    Cave Man

    Feb 12, 2007
    Neander Valley, Germany; just outside Duesseldorf
    The 24" has an S-IPS panel (true 8-bit) which makes it exceptional for critical photo work. The 20" model has a TN panel (6-bit). Both have glossy displays, though. So, if you go this route, be prepared to put your iMac in an environment where you can control the ambient light.
  14. mpaar macrumors newbie

    Dec 31, 2007
    What is an S-IPS panel vs TN panel?

    Can you explain the difference?

  15. Eraserhead macrumors G4


    Nov 3, 2005
    I can't really but 8bit colour >6bit colour as there is more colour depth, so more colours can be displayed.
  16. Cave Man macrumors 604

    Cave Man

    Feb 12, 2007
    Neander Valley, Germany; just outside Duesseldorf
    TN panels are cheaper to manufacture and have lesser viewing angles, but their response times are usually better than S-IPS. Most are 6-bit (i.e., 2^6 R, 2^6 B, 2^6 G = 262,144 "colors"), but the manufacturers can use electronic tricks to emulate 8-bit to some degree (but they're still not as good as 8-bit panels). They will often say their panels do 16 million colors (8-bit), but it's really disingenuous, if you ask me. If you have a gradient of colors across your screen, you often see blocking patterns as the gradient changes with TN panels.

    S-IPS panels are more expensive and have greater viewing angles, which when you're sitting close to a display can result in apparent darkness around the edges with a TN panel. Since they are true 8-bit, blocking is less apparent, and often invisible. S-IPS panels have a minimum size of 23" - anything less is a TN panel.
  17. gvdv macrumors regular

    Feb 18, 2007
    I'm a PC person too, and recently ended 3 years of indecision and research by buying a Mac Pro exclusively for audio recording and video editing.

    Although I'm still in the process of buying some more equipment, most of the hardware is up and running, and I have a few observations.

    I think that Macs are, generally, more 'streamlined' in their abilities to easily integrate the various tasks comprising audio and video creation; there are fewer incompatibilities, and teething problems. HOwever, this is partly because there are fewer choices available (in terms of hardware and software) which some might look at as a disadvantage.

    Also, and I had a bit of a preview of this using a friend's Mac a few times over the course of the year, I have found the OS equally easy/difficult to use as others seem to find Windows. This isn't a comparative thing, either, by which I mean this isn't because I'm more used to Windows. The Mac's OS is every bit as illogical when approaching various tasks, as Windows can be. And each OS has its advantages, too. I actually find the Mac help files to be virtually useless, with the Windows ones being better in this regard.

    To me, it boils down to knowing that you're going to have to go through a learning curve, as you obviously realize.

    There are a couple of avenues that you may not be aware of which might help out with this. One is the existence of various online video tutorial sites (some operate by monthly or annual subscriptions, with the cheapest allowing you to only watch online, and the most expensive allowing you to download video tutorials). The one that I like the best is Check here for more information and some free 'preview' tutorials. Unfortunately, they seem to have blocked the video content from the previews I looked at; audio only now seems to be the order of the day until you subscribe. Last year the video content was available and was good.

    Another method of learning which I plan to utilize is in-store training at the Apple stores. WHen I researched this over 6 months ago, for the cost of $99one could sign up for a year of training, comprising a maximum (I think) of one hour a week, scheduled at your convenience, studying whatever you want with a qualified trainer. So, for example, if you wanted to work on Logic Pro one week and Illustrator the next, you can do that.

    Pretty good value from the sounds of it. I forget what the program is called.

    Hope this is helpful.

  18. jbg232 macrumors 65816


    Oct 15, 2007
    When we recently bought an iMac we spent about and hour and a half viewing our own high quality digital photos on the apple store's iMacs and there is definitely a difference between the 20" and 24" models. The 24" display is much sharper and when compared side by side with the same image, it is noticeable. However, the 20" is still very nice and unless we had seen the 24" right next to it probably woudn't be that underwhelmed. So either one is a good bet for photos, but the 24" is a very nice screen and we are happy with it.
  19. sas76 macrumors member

    Sep 10, 2006

    The needs you are describing sound very similar to mine.
    I have a new 20 " Imac, and love it. It is great for editing movies, I mainly use iMovie 06/HD and occasionaly Final cut Express (FCE).

    The learning curve for iMovie 06 is very simple.
    There is iMovie 08 which will come pre loaded on the mac but I think most people agree 06 is better and is a free download via the apple web site.
    FCE dose take some getting used to but is well worth it.

    To wrap up, the iMac will come preloaded with software to edit video and export and burn to DVD all very easy to use.

    The only thing I would reccomend is an external firewire harddrive (for scratch disc) and more ram. (not from apple)
    Good luck
  20. stainlessliquid macrumors 68000

    Sep 22, 2006
    The LCD in the 20" iMac is complete garbage for graphic work. 24" one is fine. You should definitely get the 24" one or no iMac at all, the 20" will completely ruin your photos once you start "fixing" stuff that doesnt actually need fixing since the LCD will make areas seem darker/lighter than they really are.

    24" iMac is best for you, other options are a Macbook Pro + quality external monitor, or a Mac Pro. Just do not get the 20" one even as a last resort, it would be best to stick with PC.
  21. GoKyu macrumors 65816


    Feb 15, 2007
    New Orleans
    Dbld: I was agonizing over this choice a few months back, and like you, I use a LOT of Photoshop (and Lightroom), serious amateur in photography, etc.

    I decided to go with a Mac Pro (and as a few others stated, a new version with updates is expected in just over a week, so I'm waiting as well), rather than an iMac. Here are a few reasons:

    1. This will be a very long term use computer for me. I'm buying Pro (and a decent amount of RAM, probably 6-8 gigs) because I want this system to last me 5-10 years. quad/octo core xeons are crazy fast compared to core2duo, so Photoshop will fly, and you should be able to do a lot of video editing as well.

    2. Having a separate monitor - To me, one of the biggest reasons I didn't want an iMac is the glossy screen. Photos *do* look beautiful on it, but the potential glare and the extra color saturation aren't good for color correction and making sure my prints match the screen.

    I recently upgraded to a Samsung 24" widescreen monitor (245BW)
    and it gives me a ton of screen real estate for all of my Photoshop palettes as well as multiple images.

    3. Expandable RAM/Hard Disk space - The Mac Pro can handle up to around 32 gigs of RAM, so if you start doing serious video work that requires RAM, you can always add more.

    There are also 4 drive bays for internal SATA drives: you just screw the drive onto the carrier (screws built in), then slide the carrier back in. Couldn't be easier. I think the max now is 4 terrabytes - again, very good for disk space-sucking images and video.

    A nice side effect of getting such a powerful system will just be how incredibly responsive it will be for all the mundane tasks you do every day, where you might actually notice a slowdown in windows, depending on what you're doing.

    So those are my reasons for going Pro over an iMac. Just remember, buy the BEST you can afford now - and it should last you a LOT longer!

    Good books on learning Mac OS X:

    David Pogue - The Missing Manual - Leopard Edition

    David Pogue - Switching to a Mac - Leopard Edition (probably available late January/early February)

    Hope this helps, and enjoy your new system!

  22. Mac In School macrumors 65816

    Jun 21, 2007
    I'd like to +1 the suggestion for training videos. I've been a subscriber for years. I watched the "Tiger Essential Training" video before i bought my first Mac (Feb 2007) and knew what I was doing as soon as I booted it up.

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